Thursday, September 30, 2010

A good day

Today was a *good* day. Any one who has chronic health problems will know exactly what I mean. Physically, I was feeling pretty well and since my emotional state tends to be closely related to how I'm feeling physically (not all the time but mostly) I was feeling happy today too. Seeing as how yesterday, I was NOT feeling very well physically or emotionally, today was a nice change. Especially since I had to go out today for an appointment and when I feel good, I have enough energy to go other places afterwards.

What was kind of funny though, is that I used to have good days and bad days, and I could usually tell which is was going to be as soon as I woke up. Now, classifying my days as either good or bad depends on if the good moments of the day outweigh the bad moments. I don't think I'm explaining this very well... maybe I'll have to write about it in more detail later but the point is that when I woke up this morning, I didn't feel well and I was really cranky and tired. By the time I needed to leave for my appointment, I was feeling way better, much more perky, more awake, and was not dreading going out.

This is the first time I've been out of the house since I got back from the hospital two weeks ago. I had an appointment the day after I got home and I have stayed inside every since. I like my house, I like my bed, I like being comfortable and I don't feel like going anywhere. Actually, I don't even WANT to go anywhere at all. Ever again. I'm going to live out the rest of my days in my bed with the zebra striped blanket, lime green pillows and all my electronics, books and movies, eating cheetos and writing on my blog. Haha, as if.

No, actually, I've just been too tired to go out anywhere and it's annoying to try and schedule my dialysis around going out anywhere and making sure I'm not out longer than four hours at a time or that means having to do a dialysis exchange in the car (it's possible, I just haven't tried it yet).

I did have to go out today though because of an appointment with the surgeon who does the dialysis accesses (i.e. Fistulas, grafts, catheters, ports etc.) He didn't put in any of mine but he was the one who took out my shoulder catheter for the hemo-dialysis and he just wanted to look at the site to make sure it was healing properly and everything like that. After he looked at my shoulder and told me that everything looked great, he then proceeded to tell me that I should probably look into getting a fistula in place since having a catheter anywhere (like I did before) is extremely damaging to my veins and we want to save them for as long as possible and that a fistula would be a good idea to have in case, for whatever reason, I can't do PD anymore.

So, quick crash course on what a fistula is: That's when they take a vein and fuse it with an artery in order to make a big enough area for dialysis. It takes about 4-6 weeks (if I remember right) to grow together, re-route the blood flow and become strong enough before it can be used and it's a highly visible, very ugly and scary looking lump on the arm. The size and location varies.

For anyone who has ever seen me in person, I am very tiny. One nurse described me as slender because she said it sounded better than skinny. Slender, thin, skinny, tiny... whatever, you get the picture. As such, I have very thin arms. A fistula is going to make my arm look deformed if I even have big enough veins to do one. All that to say, this doctor is going to schedule a "vein-mapping" appointment (which, in all honesty, I should have had this done LONG BEFORE I even started considering dialysis), and this will determine if my arms are even capable of a fistula or if I'll need a graft or another catheter stuck in my shoulder or neck. Ugh... makes my head spin.

On the plus side, though, if I get a fistula, then I'll actually have a very cool, visible scar that I can make up a story about and show people. All of my other scars from dialysis and the transplant aren't really in places that I can show off, modestly, except for maybe my shoulder. Yes, I know, I'm kind of weird like that but I figure if I've got to have surgery, or tubes stuck in me or fistulas or whatever, the least I can get back is a cool scar that I can make up a story about and see if people will believe. The fistula scar looks like a shark bite and that's what I would tell people who asked about it just so I could get a laugh about it. Then I'd tell them the truth... maybe. ;-)

After the appointment, we went to Walmart to pick up some things and I saw some of my nurses from the dialysis center. I almost didn't recognize them out of the center but they were at least still in their scrubs because if they had been wearing anything else I probably would have had no clue who they were since I only ever see them in their scrub uniforms. It was nice to be able to say hi and visit a little bit without being in some sort of medical facility. That's where I want to see my nurses, but usually I see them because I'm back in the hospital again.

As an ending note, I am amazed and humbled at what this little blog is doing. The last few comments I received made me cry. I was confronted with my selfish attitude of not wanting people to know about my illness, trying to pretend this doesn't exist and putting up a front to hide my real feelings and rendering it impossible for God to use me to bless others and I hindered God being able to use others to bless and encourage me because I wasn't willing to share. The very fact that I'm reaching and encouraging more people from my bed while being practically house-bound than I ever have in the last 19 years of my life, during most of which I was much more active than now, simply astounds me. Thank you all, for your continuing support and prayers. I may not always reply to every comment, but I do read them all and I read them often. :-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

While I'm waiting

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

- John Waller

I was looking back over my blog posts and realized that I write a lot about waiting. And then I realized that I have had to spend a lot of my life waiting. In fact, I would describe this time in my life as a *waiting* period because there's nothing else I can really do except wait.

This song popped into my head and I wanted to post the lyrics. It's the song from the movie Fire Proof and it has such a powerful message to me, especially now, that I've always loved to listen to it.

Today was kind of hard for me. The last couple of days I've been having trouble sleeping, which is why, as you may have noticed, that the last couple of posts have been at all sorts of odd hours of the morning, like this one. When I have trouble sleeping, I have trouble waking up. And if I don't wake up in time to do my first dialysis exchange in the morning, it throws off my entire dialysis schedule. Plus, I'm exhausted by just waking up and getting out of bed so, obviously, I'm not doing much with my day except sleeping and eating. Lately, I've been so tired I haven't even wanted to take a shower because it feels like too much work for me.

This has been a sort of set-back for me because I was starting to feel better and things seemed like they were looking up. In a word... I'm overwhelmed. This entire transplant process has driven me up the wall with anxiety, the thoughts of what COULD happen, the questions of what I should do, trying to plan for different scenarios, etc. Dialysis is the biggest pain in the neck and I hate that I have to even mess with it in the first place. And then there are all the "life" questions that I have, should I try to re-enroll in college now or wait till after the transplant (whenever that will be), what can I do now while I'm sitting in my bed most of the day, can I start going back to church again or should I just stay home, etc.

Some of these questions, ok, well, actually MOST of these questions are based on fear. There's a reason God tells us in scripture to "FEAR NOT" because it's a very natural response to the circumstances and situations we'll have in our lives. So I'll admit it freely. I'm scared. Terrified, really. There are no certainties or guarantees that I have that the things in my life are going to turn out ok. Yes, I have a promise from God that says He will work everything together for good, but that doesn't say anything about me getting to see that good. Chances are, I'll probably never fully understand why I had to live through this nightmare until I get to Heaven and can ask God in person to show me the big picture and let me see for myself everything that He did through me that showed His power and glory to the world. I want to know why? I want to see the good that He promises so I know that my life wasn't wasted.

In the meantime, though, I wait. I don't have a choice NOT to wait, but I definitely have choice as to HOW I wait. And I will serve Him, while I wait. And I will worship Him, while I wait. Even though it's painful, even though it's scary, even though it's hard, I'll still wait.

What are you waiting for? How are you waiting?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This is taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

My parents went back up to OU today to meet with Dr. Sindwhani (Yes, he's Indian and yes, I probably just totally misspelled his name.) Dr. Sindwhani is the head transplant doctor and the guy who will be performing to transplant surgery... whenever that actually happens.

As in most cases, this doctor overbooked his appointments and my parents ended up waiting three hours before they were seen. This is the last step before my case is presented to the transplant committee but before that happens, this doctor wanted to double-check a few things. Apparently, one of my dad's tests showed that his kidneys were spilling protein... which is a sign that the kidneys aren't functioning as properly as they should. It could be nothing... it could be something... it may not disqualify him as donor... but it might.

This doctor is sending the test results to the kidney doctor my dad saw last Wednesday to have him glance over it and make sure he didn't miss it in his evaluation and to get his opinion on it before they clear him as a donor and present the case to the committee. My mom said it was a two-hour drive and a three hour wait just to get some papers read, hands shaken and told "We'll call you when we know anything."

So, once again, we wait. I was praying that I would get this transplant before New Year's, which could still happen, but I'm thinking it probably won't. The hospital system basically has two speeds, fast and very slow. If it's life-threatening, they're moving as fast as lightning and everything gets done as soon as possible and surgeries are scheduled for the next day and medications are brought on time. But when you aren't dying... you're gonna have to wade through all the red tape the system can think to throw at you, and everything seems to move in slow motion. You ask for an appointment and it's weeks away, you ask for them to write some prescriptions and it takes forever.

Even though they have moved my case faster than usual, things are still going ridiculously slow and at this point, I STILL don't know for sure whether or not my dad is going to be able to be my donor or not.

On another note, I can't find my Hind's Feet on High Places book. I brought it with me to college and now I really am not sure where it could be. As soon as I find it, though, I am going to reread it and write some posts on what I read to share here.

I don't know if you can tell or not, but I'm trying to take my blog much more seriously and be more faithful at writing for y'all. It continues to amaze me when I see that I have one more "follower" or someone comments to tell me that they've been blessed and encouraged by my ramblings. I have no idea how many people are reading this, or how far this little blog might go. But seeing as how I've got all the time in the world right now, I might as well start writing more and putting up pictures and basically just open this window into my life up a few notches more so y'all can share a part in the crazy journey called life.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hanging in...

Well, I was wrong. Wednesday's appointment was not the final say so as to whether or not my dad could donate,  it's just the first half. I know, it confuses me too. My dad has another appointment with the doctor who heads up the whole transplant wing of the hospital and he will look over everything and then say yes or no before presenting my case to a transplant committee of some sort who will then schedule the transplant as soon as possible... I don't know if that makes any sense at all but the good news of this is that my dad did get a good report from this first appointment, nothing major is going on with him healthwise that would disqualify him as a donor and the doctor thinks that he's doing a great thing for me, as my dad, by giving me his kidney. :-) I'm hoping that this last appointment (crosses fingers and HOPES this is the last appointment) will give my dad the same results and we could get the transplant scheduled as soon as November. More than likely though, we'll be looking at December or January.

In other news, I have decided that I hate dialysis and sometimes I want to stick a knife in the fluid bags and throw my I.V. pole and other PD accessories out the window. The past three mornings, I overslept and was late for my first dialysis exchange and then, in order to fit at least five exchanges in throughout the day, I have to do an exchange every two hours. A typical exchange takes about 30 to 45 minutes and it's reaaaaaly boooooring. Plus, there's all these stupid protocol rules I'm supposed to follow each time and that got old fast.

Which is a blessing, in a way I guess, because since I'm so sick of dialysis it makes me that much more willing to go through with the transplant and everything that entails. At first, I thought maybe I could try to get used to living on dialysis and then wait the 1-2 years before my name gets to the top of the transplant list at the hospital and receive a kidney from a deceased donor. There's lots of reasons why I would rather do this and I can explain them all to you if you really want to hear it all but the main reason, really, is that it's extremely difficult to let someone else (especially someone who is very close to me and that I love very much, like my father) go through surgery, have an organ removed, and live with the risks and possibilities of things going wrong all for me with very little guarantees that this will even help. It's hard to be optimistic and realistic at the same time, especially when my reality is so bleak.

Since dialysis takes a really long time, I amuse/entertain myself with my iPod Touch and yesterday I googled Peritoneal Dialysis for no real particular reason and, after searching around a bit, came across another blog somewhat similar to mine. is the life story of a lady who went into failure, was on dialysis and then received a transplant from her brother and wrote about it all much like what I'm doing here with this blog. Her main audience and purpose is a little different from mine (she targeted kidney patients and wrote to advise others, I'm writing to family/friends and updating y'all) and she has also not posted since August so I don't know if she is really continuing it or not but I have really been encouraged by reading through the archives. It was neat to be able to see my feelings and thoughts already written down by someone who has gone through this before and understood when I was/am still trying to figure it out myself at the moment.

I'm linking to it here because I thought y'all might want to see Chronic Kidney Disease from a different perspective. She's not a Christian, though, and I found it interesting to read how a non-Christian handles a major trial in her life. We all have some sort of "religion" or "belief-system", even athiests, and I think you really see the difference when you're faced with difficult situations like this.

And it's at this point in my life, when my faith has been shaken to it's very core, and I've gotten a good look at what I'm really made of... and it's not pretty. I'm not as strong as I thought I was, I still haven't gotten over my anger and I am still incredibly stubborn and rebellious. The difference is that I manifested my shortcomings in less noticeable ways and learned to cover them up. I got so good at covering them up that I fooled myself into thinking that I was "a good Christian" now. I fell into the trap of legalism and I was judgmental of those who didn't measure up to my "good Christian" standard.

I started to read my Bible again. I've picked it up here and there on occasion but I haven't really read my Bible since May, shortly after I came home from college. I was never a very faithful Bible reader and that was my biggest frustration with myself because I wasn't being a "good Christian" if I didn't read my Bible daily and check that little box of my list. Yesterday, I started reading it, just to read it, because I know it's important and because I feel like I need it. I'm hoping that I'll continue to realize I need to read the Bible after the feeling passes but since I'm motivated, I decided to take advantage of it. I have mentally burned my "good Christian" check-list... it doesn't really matter now since I'm not even able to physically go to church, and I'm not going to be upset with myself if I miss a day. The important thing is that I read it and know that God understands that I'm not perfect. In fact, he doesn't expect me to be perfect, or respond correctly to every trial that comes my way. God created all the emotions that I'm feeling right now and I don't think that He's asking me to change them... only trust Him in spite of how I feel.

It's as if I'm lying on an operating table and God is about to perform an open heart surgery on me. There's no anesthesia with this kind of operation, though, I have to be awake because God isn't going to force me on that operating table, I have to willingly place myself there and willingly keep myself there and willingly allow Him to work. My problem is that I keep jumping off the table saying, "Alright, enough God, enough! I've had it, I can't handle any more, that's enough!" But every time I jump off the table, I stop God in the middle of the job and that doesn't work in a real surgery so it won't work in this "life surgery" either.

If you've never read Hind's Feet on High Places than let me definitely recommend it to you as one of the best analogies of a Christian life. I'm reminded of the moment when the Shepherd presents Much Afraid with her companions, Sorrow and Suffering. My mom was encouraged by the testimony of Joni Earickson Tada (who broke her neck in a diving accident and is paralyzed from the neck down) who said she had to come to the point when she could embrace her paralysis as a friend much like Much Afraid had to embrace Sorrow and Suffering as her friends. My mom has been telling me how she wants to embrace the kidney disease as a friend. I embraced kidney disease all right, but not as a friend, no. I embraced kidney disease as my mortal enemy, I declared war and I fought with everything I had, determined to kill it or die trying. Yes, I know, I'm very dramatic...

Anyway, that's what I feel like God has been telling me lately, to think of the kidney disease as my companion and embrace it as a friend and learn to hold it's hand along this journey. And I'm struggling with that, simply because this is my most hated enemy and now I'm supposed to forget the entire war, shake hands and be friends? I. Don't. Think. So.

But God enjoys asking the impossible in order to prove His power and this, I suppose, is one of those impossibles that He's going to do in my life and all I have to do is be willing to let Him work. So I guess we'll just sit back and watch what happens.

In the meantime... I think I'm going to go find that book and reread it.

Before I sign off, I want to say thank you to anyone who has sent me a card, or commented here, or wrote on my FB wall letting me know you were thinking of me and praying for me. I got another card today from one of the girl's dorms at Heartland (I've gotten a card from three of the ladies' dorms now and I recognize most all of the names!), I've gotten several cards from different people in my church, one from my awesome sister-in-law, and a really cool card from a friend in Africa, and all the notes and messages on Facebook and through my email. I am so blessed with the friends and the family that I have and I'll take every opportunity that I can to thank you for your much needed and appreciated support, prayers, and all-around encouragement that you give. :-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three times in five months....

That's how many times I have been hospitalized... meaning full admittance into the hospital and everything. That's not counting the various doctor's appointments and a couple of ER visits. And that's just THIS year... last year was kind of similar as far as hospitalizations and medical complications but nothing compares to this (fill in the blank) year.

Due to some complications with my PD, I was hospitalized again and thought for sure I was going to have to have another surgery to correct the problem. After two surgeries this year, I'm pretty familiar with how the process goes so I wasn't all that nervous about the procedure if I had to have it. I actually like anesthesia, and if I'm in a lot of pain then I press the nurse call button and get more pain meds, either by pill or through my I.V. and then I'm fine as long as I don't move.

I was also pretty sure I was not going to do PD again since it seemed as if my body just couldn't handle all the fluid and so that would have meant another surgery in order to replace the hemo-dialysis catheter, either in my  shoulder, leg, neck or wherever else they put those things. Ironically, though, for as hard a time as I had switching over from hemo to PD... now the doctors don't want me switching from PD back to hemo because they don't think my veins can handle the stress of a graft or a fistula and they don't want to damage them with the catheters.

However, I did not have to have any surgeries at all, the problem was a fairly easy fix. So, after a four day stay in the hospital, I came home Sunday night with a new PD plan. The doctors have adjusted the amount of fluid that I put into my belly which will help relieve some of the abdominal pressure that was causing me trouble before, and I am allowed to go "dry" at night, meaning I drain as much of the fluid out as I can without replacing it until the next morning.

I have a dialysis test in two weeks which will determine whether or not I am getting enough dialysis done and then, based on those scores, they plan on switching me to a machine called the Cycler, which will do all of my dialysis exchanges during the night while I sleep and then I will be dry during the day. I think that's going to help me out a lot and, in the meantime, hang tight until this transplant actually happens.

My dad is up at OU right now meeting with a nephrologist (kidney doctor) and he'll be going over my dad's test results and, as far as I understand, this will be the deciding appointment as to whether or not my dad can be my donor. I'll write as soon as I know anything.

On a happier note, my levels have all improved "miraculously" as my doctor put it. The protein levels that they were so worried about being to low once I started PD, has jumped a whole point higher than it was, instead of dropping, which has amazed just about everyone because that's not normally what happens. I wasn't too surprised because my mom has been sprinkling protein powder on just about everything I eat and mixing it in with everything I drink except for water. She's done everything except make me eat it straight from the jar, really. I drew the line at her putting it in my jello, though. Yes, really she was going to put protein powder in my jello... Blech!

Anyway, I've got a blood draw in two weeks to recheck the levels and make sure everything is still staying on the up and up and basically just hanging around. I'm sorta kinda not really on bed rest right now because that helps lesson the abdominal pressure and I am house-bound for the most part. I don't go anywhere I don't have to and especially now since I'm still resting from the hospital visit. Someone said I should look at it as a sort of vacation, being at the hospital, I almost laughed rudely to her face. It was spoken like someone who had never been hospitalized. If you want to call having an I.V. port throbbing in your arm, blood draws being done every morning at 5:30, nurses coming in to take your vitals every two hours during the night when you're trying to sleep, and doctors coming in at 6:00 in the morning and randomly throughout the day to talk with you about your health a vacation, then yeah, it's great and the hospitals could make some good money by letting tourists come in and "enjoy the experience". It's lovely, really, everyone should try it. (Note the sarcasm)

Will write again soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Long over-due update

First off, I apologize to all of you faithful readers of my blog for not updating sooner. I could make up a really good (and legitimate) excuse but the truth of the matter is, I just didn't feel like blogging and so I didn't. A moment ago, I really didn't care and I actually was going to put this off yet another day because I still don't really feel like writing but my Dad told me that I needed to update and I just got a comment on my last post about how this blog is an encouragement to read so... now I feel like a selfish little brat and that I really need to update y'all and let you know what's going on.

A lot has happened in the last couple of days, my emotional roller-coaster was still in full swing and I had a rough week again. I passed the PD training with flying colors and was pleasantly surprised to find that there really wasn't all that much to learn to start home dialysis. So now, I am at home doing dialysis myself. It has it's drawbacks but those don't compare to having to go to the dialysis center three times a week. This is a much more gentler way of dialyzing and it's more natural on your body. I'll write more about PD later and explain the whole process.

Because I started PD, I no longer need the hemo-dialysis port in my shoulder and I was able to get that taken out yesterday. It was a fairly basic, easy procedure that is usually done in the surgeon's office but I decided that I wanted to have some anesthesia and sleep through the whole thing because I'm a high-strung, very nervous individual and I cry sometimes when they stick needles in my body and shoot burning painful liquids in me. Ugh, I hate that! And when I start to cry, I get so embarrassed and I have trouble stopping the tears and I get all the doctors and nurses worried and... yeah, you get the picture.

So I was given some light anesthesia, slept through the whole procedure, which only took about an hour, woke up like I had just taken a nap without being loopy, disoriented, upset, or anything, and recovered in about an hour and was able to come home. The anesthesia made me very calm and relaxed which was very nice considering that I wasn't very calm and relaxed when I got there.

So now, finally that dreadful catheter is out of my shoulder and I was told to take the dressing off today and take a shower to wash off the orange sterile agent that they spread all over my skin... very weird. But the shower was lovely and I was definitely looking forward to taking a real shower as soon as I got this shoulder port removed. I can't get that one wet because of the risk for infection but the PD port in my stomach is allowed to get wet in the shower so I had to modify my shower and do a sort of half shower thing and wash my upper body with those bed bath wipes and then was my hair separately... very confusing. But, now I can take a regular shower again. I know that sounds kind of trivial but I havent had a regular shower for about two months and I was very excited to have a regular shower today.

It's sort of like a mile marker, to let me know that I am getting better and I am getting my life back little by little. My life was taken away from me slowly and painfully, and now I'm slowly and painfully (and with much difficulty) getting my life back. And now I have my showers back. :-)

Next week my dad has a meeting with the kidney doctor and I'm pretty sure this will be the final "yes or no" on my dad being able to donate. I think me and my mom are going to try to go with him but we're not sure yet because, even though I can travel with the PD, it's a lot of stuff to pack into the car so we're not sure if I'm going to go or not but I really want to. We'll just have to see.

I will definitely post and keep y'all informed as to what happens with the transplant process and I will also post and write more about how the PD home dialysis stuff works too, just in case any of y'all are curious.

Thank you for your prayers, your support, your encouragement, your kind words, your letters, your friendship... everything. It means a lot to me and my family and I promise you all I will try my best to not be selfish and only post when I feel like it but to post whenever I've got an update or prayer request or just to tell you that I have nothing to report. :-D

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Emotional roller-coaster

I love roller-coasters. I love the thrill of getting strapped into a seat and flying around a skinny little track going up, falling down, spinning around and upside down with the wind whipping through your hair and the g-forces pulling at you all the while screaming at the top of your lungs. Then you finally slow to a stop and exit the ride, all wobbly and jittery, laughing nervously and breathing heavily, and quickly looking around for the next ride to go on. I have already planned a trip to Six Flags over Texas with one of my friends and I'm excitedly looking forward to it because, being older and considerably taller than I was when I last went to an amusement park, I should have virtually no limits to all the roller-coaster rides I set my eyes on. But I digress.

This past week, strike that, the past two years (but particularly this week) I have been on the wildest, craziest, topsy-turvy roller-coaster of emotions ever in my life. And this is not a roller-coaster that I like, and it's not one that I would ever wish to ride. When I hit my teenage years, I was your typical, average moody teenage girl. My emotions were all over the place, I'd be happy one minute and raging mad or crying the next. The older I get the more control I have over my behavior and, thus, more control over the emotions.

I can't help my emotions. I can't help that I get sad or mad or frustrated about things. I usually can't help getting excited or happy or grateful over things either. The statement that "we can't help how we feel" is, in my opinion, true. However, most people will use that as an excuse to behave in whatever way they want. "I can't help that I love this person." Yeah, whatever. You may not be able to help the feelings of attraction you have towards someone but you can definitely control whether or not you're going to flirt. Love has certain emotions attributed to it but love is a choice. You don't fall in love only to fall out of it later... when people say that it's only because they lost the emotional "spark" for a time but that doesn't mean that they fell out of love. They just *chose* not to love any more because they didn't *feel* like it. Big difference.

I have no idea if any of this is making any sense and I could go on and on about emotions and my opinion about it but I'm not going to because I have more important things to write about and I need to get to that soon before my computer battery dies since I don't want to move right now and plug the cord in.

All that to say, for the most part, I can generally ignore the negative emotions (anger, sadness, confusion, frustration) that threaten to drive me insane and choose, instead, to just believe by faith that God has a plan for this situation which, to me, looks like a nightmare and He's going to turn it in to something wonderful that I'll be so thankful for. And yes, in case any of you are wondering, God has been good to give me some glimpses of the good things He's doing in this situation and that makes living through it, in a way, almost worth it. I am not yet at the point where I can be grateful for everything, and I may never make it to that point while I'm still on this earth struggling against my fleshly, sinful self. But I know that I'm right where God wants me at this moment and that He will continue to mold me and make me more like Him in His timing.

But sometimes... my emotions do get the better of me. It happens rarely now but it does happen. In times like those I have my hardest, deepest struggles. Most of the time, I can hide it and almost nobody can tell except maybe my mom and one of my closest friends who has a very discerning way about her. It's during times like these when I hate God, I hate life, I hate kidney disease (actually, I always hate kidney disease), I hate certain people that get on my nerves, I hate the way things are, I hate rules, I hate hospitals, I hate dialysis (I always hate dialysis too), I hate almost EVERYTHING! And, as a result, I struggle. I struggle with remembering what is true, I struggle with having hope, I struggle with being kind to people, I struggle with keeping my mouth shut when it needs to be shut, and I struggle to keep struggling because once I stop struggling, I give up. And giving up cannot be an option.

Again, I have no idea if that makes any sense but I hope it gives you some idea of what's going on when I write things like F.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.e.d. on my FB status. This has been an emotional roller-coaster of a week and I've been struggling and that's why I haven't written anything sooner because I didn't want to.

Ok... so here is an update. On Tuesday, my dialysis port started to run really slow and actually stopped working so I had to come off of dialysis a little earlier than usual (which is a bad thing). The catheter in my shoulder is starting to clot off and I was told that I needed to see a surgeon to determine whether this one can be fixed or if I need to have a new one put in. We spent a long time waiting to see the surgeon right after dialysis but it worked out because he was able to see us that day. He is a very nice man and I was really glad to have him. He took one look at my port and said that it needed to be taken out and that there is no reason why I should not start home dialysis. Unfortunately, my kidney doctor didn't agree and said that my protein levels were still not high enough to start home dialysis and he would not give consent. That was very frustrating to me.

On Wednesday, I met with my new general internal health-care doctor and I absolutely loved him. He was a million times better than my last doctor and he understood, from his own experience, what I was going through. Exactly what a doctor should be, in my opinion. He was on my side as well and helped us push my kidney doctor into letting me start home dialysis.

My mom requested on her FB that we needed a miracle and God provided us with a miracle. My kidney doctor told us on Thursday that we can start PD training on Tuesday which means that, Lord willing, yesterday was my last hemo-dialysis treatment.

This next week is going to be tough, I'm going to be at the dialysis center even longer than before because I'm going to be in training and I'm also going to be getting dialyzed at the same time so it's going to be a lot to take in. Then I also have to get my room set up for when I start dialysis at home and I need to make room for all the supplies (There's a lot of boxes!) and on Monday the PD nurse will come to my home and observe me at home just to make sure I'm doing it right.

I was told that I could have the port in my shoulder taken out as soon as Wednesday but not later than Friday if all goes well. I can't wait to get it out and I can't wait to start home dialysis. It's going to be a very long week but I can see a little bit of light at the end of this long tunnel.

As far as anything goes with the transplant process... nothing yet. What little results we've gotten on my dad's tests have all been, for the most part, really good. A few things have come up but nothing that disqualifies him from donating. We're still waiting on the results of a few more and then we have a meeting with a kidney doctor in OU and I think that will be the final yes or no as to whether or not my dad can donate to me.

As always, I greatly appreciate your prayers for me and my family. Prayer requests would be that this next week would go by smoothly and I would learn quickly all that I need to know for home dialysis, that I would keep my focus on the things that are important, and that my dad would clear for donating and I can get this transplant before the new year. :-)